Polling rate is one of the terms that gamers often see but rarely understand. This is largely due to how advanced modern mechanical keyboards are and how fast they respond. Nevertheless, it is still one of those concepts that need to be understood since it is a part of your keyboard.
Polling rate, also known as report rate, is the measurement of how frequently devices send data to connected computers. It is what determines how fast or how slow gaming peripherals perform. Most modern gaming equipment has a very fast polling rate which allows near-instantaneous response.
In this article, we will be going through everything you need to know about the concept of polling rate. We’ll go through its technical definition as well as its uses in gaming and regular tasks. And by the end of this article, users and potential buyers should know whether or not the polling rate of keyboards should affect their buying decision.
What is Keyboard Polling Rate?
As we have mentioned earlier, the polling rate measures how fast or slow the response time of your keyboard is. It is measured in Hertz(Hz) and is commonly associated with gaming mice and gaming keyboards.
Modern gaming keyboards typically have at least 1000 Hz, which equates to approximately 1 ms response time. This kind of response time is near-instantaneous, meaning there is virtually no lag. 1000 Hz has mostly been the standard for gaming peripherals and is what professional FPS players use.
And with how high the polling rate is with good quality gaming keyboard, this concept has mostly been forgotten by most gamers. But, of course, consumers must remember that not all keyboards will have the same polling rate.
Some consumer-grade keyboards such as budget wireless keyboards will inevitably have a lower polling rate. Most of this is because having higher polling rates will consumer more batteries. And with higher polling rates comes more obvious input lag.
Can I Change the Polling Rate of My Keyboard?
Just like with gaming mice, some gaming keyboards allow the user to change the polling rate. But for most wired keyboards, there is little to no point in changing the polling rate.
Most mechanical keyboards are already equipped with the highest polling rate settings out of the box. Lowering it would only introduce more issues such as input lag.
But with that said, changing the polling rate may be more significant when dealing with wireless peripherals. As we have mentioned earlier, having a higher polling rate will significantly reduce battery life.
And when other factors such as RGB are added, recharging your keyboard will be inevitable. This is why when using wireless gaming keyboards for more casual use, it may be worth setting a dedicated profile with a lower polling rate.
Is Polling Rate Significant in Gaming?
Technically, the polling rate of gaming keyboards is critical as it determines how fast a keyboard responds. However, in today’s market. almost all mechanical keyboards will give you the same kind of performance. All gaming keyboards will be fast and will not hinder the performance of gamers.
Of course, this does not stop some companies from releasing high polling rate equipment. Razer, for instance, has released the Razer Viper 4K gaming mouse, which has a whopping 4000 Hz. And while it is unclear if other brands will follow suit, the opinion of most gamers regarding polling rate still hasn’t changed.
Instead of focusing too much on the polling rate of gaming keyboards, we highly recommend checking out the other aspects of the keyboard. Some elements of the gaming keyboard, such as the size, weight, layout, and extra features will have a better impact on the end user’s gaming experience.
In addition, gamers should be more concerned with other factors that can cause latency. The quality of the game servers, for instance, is more likely to introduce input lag to the end-users.
The bottom line is that it is still better for gamers to understand what the term polling rate is. After all, it is a setting that can be changed in the software by accident. But outside of that, the polling rate of most gaming keyboards shouldn’t matter too much.
Does Polling Rate Matter for Regular Consumers?
The term polling rate is mostly reserved for competitive gamers. Most regular consumers shouldn’t even bother learning the term. This is mostly because most casual tasks such as internet browsing or even more serious tasks such as programming and video editing do not require the highest input speed.
If you are a regular consumer and are concerned that your device won’t perform optimally due to having a lower polling rate, then you shouldn’t be worrying at all. You might not even see the differences at all.
Just like with gaming keyboards, we highly advise prioritizing the features that are important to you over the polling rate of the keyboard. If you require a wireless keyboard for your work or if you are on a tight budget, then the polling rate of your keyboard will not matter.
The KBE team is dedicated to sharing our knowledge and creating useful resources about computer keyboards. This article was written as a team collaboration, combining our knowledge and years of experience using, building and modding keyboards. Meet the team here.